The core of early essential newborn care is the First Embrace – immediate and thorough drying after birth followed by skin-to-skin contact, appropriately timed clamping and cutting of the umbilical cord and exclusive breastfeeding.

The practice can be performed in all birth settings. The approach has been applied in 16 nations across the world, with more than 30,000 medical workers receiving training at over 2,500 medical institutions, and has benefited nearly four million newborns.

Nguyen Duc Vinh, Director Maternal and Child Health Department under the Ministry of Health said Not only in Vietnam but many other countries, the number of caesarean sections is very high.

"People often think that after the operation, the mother is too weak to take care of her baby. However, it is proved that mothers can totally practice skin-to-skin contact. Additionally, medical workers’ habits and skills in the field should be improved", he said.

 So far, the method has been implemented in all provinces and cities nationwide, with nearly 9,000 trained medical workers. Up to 78 percent of full-termed infants have skin-to-skin contact with their mothers, and are breastfed right after birth.

 The “First Embrace” campaign was first launched in the Philippines in March, 2015. The campaign has been launched in eight nations, namely Cambodia, China, Laos, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Vietnam.-VNA